During most post-recession assessments, the reevaluation of federal programs and agencies are undertaken to analyze for optimal efficiency — one of which is the United States Postal Service.
The USPS already required government aid and faced near dissolution in 2009 but has managed to accumulate a $15 billion debt only 11 years later. Now, with the economic crisis caused by efforts to combat COVID-19, the USPS is back under scrutiny.
The recent $2 trillion CARES Act signed by President Donald Trump excluded funding for USPS and only offered them a $10 billion loan. This would only cover roughly 70% of their debt and leaving no funds for continuing or improving their operations, making it pointless to accept.
It’s becoming seemingly clear that Trump doesn’t find keeping USPS operational a necessity.
He has already verbally expressed the opinion that privatized mail and parcel delivery companies operate more efficiently. Additionally, he has vocalized his distaste for the mail voting system which is tied directly to voter access.
Furthermore, the closure of USPS would likely lead to a rise in shipping costs and also a likely oligopoly between shipping companies such as United Parcel Service, FedEx and DHL.
Sending and receiving mail to and from rural areas throughout the nation is another concern for those opposing the USPS closure. These areas are commonly excluded from the delivery routes of most privatized companies that avoid servicing them due to lack of cost efficiency. This leaves USPS as the sole option for rural residents to receive mail.
USPS could close down as early as June 2020 and there is still significant community reliance on their delivery services.
Speculation suggests that a full closure so soon would likely cause several correspondences and parcel delivery complications, especially between citizens and state or federal agencies. The closure would also lead the massive loss of jobs nationwide.
Some of these complications include mailing delays for millions of vital goods and services such as prescription medications and the issuance of essential documents or correspondence from state or federal agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Internal Revenue Service.
While it is routine to reevaluate government agencies during hard economic times, the shuttering of the USPS would have far reaching unintended consequences.